Last week our friends at Students for Liberty participate in a debate with students from the Heritage Foundation.
Who do you think won?
Last week our friends at Students for Liberty participate in a debate with students from the Heritage Foundation.
Who do you think won?
Concerned American patriots fear not; there is a true grassroots movement of volunteer activists dedicated to drastic reduction of government involvement in our lives. The movement starts with you, the concerned citizen, and stretches across the country from Maine to California and everywhere in between.
The Republican Liberty Caucus has been providing principled leadership for the Republican Party since 1991. Since Americans have awakened in response to the Bush Administration’s crushing blows to our liberties and since the Ron Paul Presidential campaign of 2008, the RLC has seen unprecedented growth.
There’s never been a better time to become active. Here is a review of some the RLC’s most successful activities in the past year. Keep in mind that all of these successes were achieved through voluntary participation. The benefit of an organization that is operated by volunteers is that it stays true to message and principle — it can’t be co-opted by people with other interests or intents.
The RLC has had tremendous success gaining earned media over the past year. This has included several mentions in the New Hampshire Union-Leader, Village Voice (NY), Nashville Post (TN), Charleston Post and Courier (SC), and regular coverage in newspapers throughout Florida. Several of our members or endorsed candidates have appeared on “Freedom Watch” with Judge Andrew Napolitano and local talk radio programs.
RLC members and chapters leaders have had a busy but successful year hosting events. Among the speakers: economists like Lawrence E. Reed, William Sirakos, and Thomas Woods; scholars like Dr. Bob Levy of the Cato Institute; physicians/health care experts like Dr. B.J. Lawson and Dr. Rand Paul; talk radio hosts like Mike Church; financial experts like Vern McKinley and Lawrence Lepard; several judges and county sheriffs; and elected officials ranging from Florida House Speaker Mike Haridopolos to Michigan State Representative (and RLC member) Justin Amash. Additionally, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson will address RLC members several times in upcoming months. We also hosted a successful RLC National Convention (see also: RLC Convention 2009 photos) in Jacksonville, FL last March.
RLC members have been working constantly to influence the legislative process. From drafting their own legislation to encouraging GOP Convention delegates to adopt RLC proposals, RLC members are making their influence known. The Texas RLC led a campaign against a proposal to give more unconstitutional authority to Child Protective Services. And the Tennessee RLC helped endorsed Representative Susan Lynn draft and pass a State Sovereignty resolution. RLC-endorsed legislators were behind many of the other state sovereignty proposals. In RLC chapters like Missouri, most of the efforts were focused on advancing pro-liberty legislation — with great success. RLC members in Missouri blasted the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC), which published a report critical of Ron Paul supporters in The Show Me State. Legislators are increasingly becoming aware of our organization and the impact it can have at the state level.
Public Outreach for Liberty
The RLC has conducted public outreach for liberty at our own events, at GOP events, and at liberty movement events. Many of the liberty movement events are expensive, so we only focused on events that were not costly and could bring in new members such as the seven Students for Liberty regional conferences that took place this fall. The RLC had members or speakers (see also: this link) at five of the seven conferences; in IL, MA, NC, PA, and TX. RLC affiliates also conducted outreach at GOP State Conventions or Meetings in CA, FL, NE, NC, TX, UT, and VA. (Not all states had statewide meetings in 2009.) We also had a booth at the Young Republicans National Convention in Indianapolis. Finally, the RLC itself had some all-star events with movement leaders like Bob Levy, Tom Woods, and Rand Paul (see also: this link). These RLC photos illustrate the great meetings that RLC members participated in 2009.
Social Networking Outreach
The RLC is at the forefront of social networking, with large followings on Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo! eGroups, and a new YouTube channel that includes our 2009 Convention speeches and a new video introduction. View our most recent social networking report.
Our biggest electoral success in 2009 was helping Dan Halloran, a member of our National Board, gain election to the New York City Council. In addition, RLC members contributed to an electoral victory for Ken Cuccinelli (pictured, left) to the post of Attorney General in Virginia. We also helped elect or re-elect state legislators in New Hampshire and New Jersey. The RLC offered Liberty Slates of candidates at state GOP Conventions in California, North Carolina, and Utah — and several of the slate members had successes. For example, in Utah, the RLC helped Morgan Philpot attain the post of Utah GOP Vice-Chair, while RLC members in Alameda County, California were able to gain a temporary majority on the GOP Central Committee.
The growth of our chapters is the biggest news of the last year. What an inspiration! Since December 2008, we have chartered eight new chapter affiliates and re-organized or re-activated three affiliates. For all of these successes, our members/chapter officers deserve a great deal of credit. The chapter successes are a testament to the rapid growth of our movement and solidify influence at the state/local levels.
What a year it’s been for liberty. Let’s continue the positive RLC growth into 2010. There’s a lot of work still to be done.
Students for Liberty has taken on the amazing task of organizing seven regional conferences this fall. The conferences bring different types of liberty-loving students together to hear from prominent speakers — many of whom are affiliated with the Republican Liberty Caucus.
This year’s regional conferences have occurred, thus far, in New York, Chicago, Phoenix/Tempe, and Austin. The RLC conducted outreach at three of the four seminars and had official speakers at two out of the four seminars.
I previously reported on the outreach at the first conference, which occurred on October 10. Two RLC supporters helped us table at that event, and two RLC representatives spoke. The most notable of the speakers was former National Board member Dr. Murray Sabrin, who was a contender for U.S. Senate in 2008. Additionally, RLC Northeast Regional Director Dan Halloran addressed the crowd. Dan is running an impressive campaign for New York City Council in a district that trends more conservative than most in the city.
Above: Students at the Chicago Conference weigh the issues.
On October 17 in Chicago, students heard from two RLC representatives: former Michigan State Representative Leon Drolet and former Wisconsin State Representative Terri McCormick (photos below).
Leon participated in a debate with Isaac Moorehouse about how liberty-oriented people can achieve our goals. Leon argued for the RLC strategy. Terri McCormick gave a presentation about the political elite versus the grassroots, arguing that now is the time we take our country back for liberty.
On October 24, RLC members conducted outreach at two Students for Liberty Conferences: the Texas SFL conference in Austin and the Southern SFL conference in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Rising young star and RLC supporter Jared Fuller organized the Winston-Salem conference, and North Carolina RLC members Gloria Lloyd and Dana Mazer tabled for the Republican Liberty Caucus at the conference. Former Congressional candidate and North Carolina RLC Board member B.J. Lawson was among the featured speakers. Dr. Lawson gave a speech called “The Economy, Monty Python, and You”:
Meanwhile, RLC National Chair Dave Nalle and Bexar County (Texas) RLC Membership Chair Nadia Gaona reached out at the Texas SFL conference.
Dave observed a general trend that we continue to see to in our small-but-growing movement, noting that “the long-time libertarian activists [in the] audience were eager to stand up and talk proudly about their token political campaigns where they spent no money but got their name mentioned in the local newspaper when they won 3% of the vote.”
Says Dave, “It’s heartening to see the growth of interest in liberty and bringing our government under control, but it’s enormously frustrating to see so much of this enthusiasm misdirected into the political dead end and do-nothingism which still characterizes the Libertarian Party. The truth is that the pissed-off non-intellectuals of the Tea Party movement who come to libertarianism out of expediency rather than intellect have already accomplished more real political change in a year than the Libertarian Party has accomplished in more than 30 years.”
All complaints aside, these events have proven tremendously beneficial to the movement and the RLC has been able to capitalize on the opportunity to reach new young people with our strategy for victory.
The next RLC outreach booths at Students for Liberty Conferences will occur on November 7, when members will conduct outreach at the Philadelphia and Boston Students for Liberty Conferences. Prospective RLC endorsee, 2010 U.S. Senate candidate from Connecticut Peter Schiff will be speaking at the Boston conference. Schiff has previously explained the RLC strategy in a poignant way.
We look forward to reaching additional students at these conferences and thank the Students for Liberty for continuing to host these tremendous regional events. Thanks, too, to all of the RLC representatives and volunteers who have helped us at the conferences.
Above: Former Michigan State Representative Leon Drolet makes his points in a debate on strategies to attain liberty in our lifetime.
On October 12, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was greeted with heckling by a crowd of Tea Party activists and libertarians at one of his Town Hall meetings. Graham was put on defensive about his voting record on issues like climate change and the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. When he asserted that he is “not going to leave the Republican Party” but “grow it”, he was met with jeers and shouts of “Ron Paul!”
In response, Graham said, “I love this party; I’m not going to let it be hijacked by Ron Paul.”
The Republican Party isn’t where it is today because of party members like Ron Paul; rather, because of spineless partisans like Lindsey Graham. Lindsey Graham says “if you don’t like it, you can leave”.
This kind of “with us or against us” rhetoric is what turns people away and breaks coalition
Lindsey Graham needs to understand that I too love this party. Despite people like Lindsey Graham, I’m not going to leave the party and I’m not going to let the party be hijacked by Lindsey Graham. If you don’t like it, Lindsey, you can leave.
Kevin E. Deuwel, a RLC member, is a student at George Washington University and a native of Sacramento, California. He blogs at Free Libertas.
On Saturday, October 10, RLC members reached out at conferences in New York and Wisconsin.
In New York City, the Students for Liberty held its first of seven regional conferences taking place this fall. Several Republican Liberty Caucus representatives brought literature and the RLC banner to the conference to educate students about the Republican Liberty Caucus message and strategy.
Former RLC Board member, Ramapo College Professor of Finance, and former New Jersey Senate candidate Murray Sabrin addressed the audience, as did New York RLC Chair and City Council candidate Dan Halloran (pictured below).
Paul Sanchez of the soon-to-form Wisconsin RLC affiliate attended the Future Wisconsin Conference on October 10, too, to reach out to interested parties there. Future Wisconsin is an annual gathering of conservatives in Wisconsin.
Said Sanchez, “I was able to meet a number of allies to liberty throughout the day and we received a positive reception.”
“After [we charter our chapter], [we should] hit the ground running [to] network as [much as] possible,” he said. “This should then help us gain experience in other tasks such as supporting candidates on a local and state level. I think the next year should be pretty exciting and look forward to moving on to the next step.”
The RLC hopes to have a presence at upcoming Students for Liberty conferences in Boston, Chicago, Austin, Winston-Salem, and Philadelphia.
The Obama administration is considering forced vaccination of children and adults in response to the possibility of a swine flu epidemic this fall.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been preparing public school superintendents for the possibility that their schools will be used by the government as inoculation centers for a nationwide swine flu vaccination program which may include mandatory vaccination of public school students who are already required to receive several other government mandated vaccinations.
While there is a genuine threat of a swine flu pandemic, it does not justify the level of fear mongering being engaged in by the Obama Administration at a time which makes it look very much as if they are using this issue to advance their health care agenda. Although numbers like 90,000 deaths and 1.2 million hospitalizations from the CDC seem frightening, they fall within the parameters for the effects of the yearly outbreaks of other kinds of flu.
There is no legitimate reason for any program of forced mass vaccination, especially directed at school children and using state mandated public education requirements as a threat to force parents to comply. Mandatory vaccination programs are a violation of the constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy and personal security. It is especially important that the rights of children and the rights of their parents to make decisions about their childrens’ welfare be protected.
Here in Texas we saw an attempt at forced vaccination when Governor Rick Perry tried to mandate that all teenage girls be given the Human Paphaloma Virus vaccine at a cost of over $400 per vaccination to the taxpayers. Outrage over the huge tax cost of the program was exceeded only by anger over having this vaccine forced on teenagers. Protests were so effective that the program was killed. Now we need to do the same on a nationwide basis.
The issue of vaccination – in fact the entire healthcare debate – comes down to one very simple question. Who should make the healthcare decisions for you and your family? Should it be you or should it be legislators or commissions of nameless and faceless government bureaucrats like those created by proposed healthcare legislation.
This issue is so important and so personal that giving up control to government is terrifying. As a result, we are seeing massive nationwide grassroots protests against government run healthcare because whatever the faults of the current system, people want to keep control and make their own health care decisions.
Vaccines are one of the great advancements of modern medicine and for the most part they are safe and important for protecting children and adults from real health threats. Nonetheless it is still morally wrong for government to force any kind of choice like this on citizens against their will. Government should protect freedom of choice, not take it away.
The Republican Liberty Caucus is working to oppose both so-called healthcare reform and mandated vaccination programs.
Citizens have the right to make their own health care decisions, including opting out of current school vaccination requirements and not being forced to comply with any future government inoculation program.
Americans should be trusted to make responsible decisions about the health of their family members and the safety of the community. The role of the government should be to protect citizens and their rights, not to make medical decisions for them without their consent.
So I ask again, who do you want making your health care decisions?
Earlier in the month, RLC members from the Indiana and Missouri affiliate attended the Young Republicans Convention in Indianapolis to spread the message of individual liberty and limited government.
RLC members Rob and Karen Hillman and Charlie Kochenash hosted a Republican Liberty Caucus booth at the YR Convention. Two photos from the booth follow.
Dave Nalle recently posted a summary of the YR Convention results at this blog.
Charlie Kochenash, Indiana RLC Chair, also spoke at the July 4 Northwest Indiana Patriots Tea Party:
Reports coming out of the Young Republicans convention last weekend in Indianapolis range from the disappointing to the disturbing.
The organization, which represents Republicans under 40 — a demographic where the GOP has been rapidly losing ground — seems to have taken a radical turn with this convention which does not bode well for the future of the party.
Controversy at the convention centered around the election of the new YR chairman, where a moderate candidate was beaten out by a narrow margin by a candidate who has been accused of racism, homophobia, and engaging in dirty campaign tricks.
According to a series of reports in The Daily Beast and confirmed by other sources, incoming YR Chair Audra Shay has a history of attacking other Republicans and making racially insensitive and homophobic statements and engaged in a smear campaign before and during the convention against her main challenger for the chairmanship, Rachel Hoff.
Shay describes herself as a “true conservative” and seems to be a movement conservative in the tradition of Karl Rove and Lee Atwater — who themselves took control of the College Republicans through similar divisive tactics and dirty campaigning back in the 1970s.
In contrast, Hoff is a moderate interested in party reform and notable for her support of same-sex civil unions.
To observers, Shay seems to represent the entrenched interests and failed agenda of the religious right and neoconservatives, while Hoff at least offered an alternative and relatively innovative perspective which would certainly be more appealing to a young audience. The candidates were also quite different in age, with Shay at age 38 almost too old to even run for the office and Hoff in her early 20s and more representative of the demographic the YRs are supposed to represent.
John Avlon’s coverage of Shay has been absolutely merciless, depicting her as an embodiment of the ugly face which the left likes to try to paint on Republicans. Much of his criticism centers around racist remarks made by one of her Facebook “friends” which she appeared to endorse or at least condone and around Shay’s vocal criticism of President Obama which is really not out of the norm for even more progressive Republicans, and could be considered legitimate given his professed beliefs and policies.
But Shay has also said things herself which are troubling and suggest a cavalier intolerance of minorities and for that matter anyone who does not share her exact beliefs. Certainly Shay has said some intemperate things and comes across as bitter, egotistical and vindictive, but it’s not entirely clear that she’s as bad as Avlon makes her out to be. On the other hand, reports of her campaign techniques are less equivocal. She seems to have benefited from a vicious rumor campaign suggesting that Hoff was a lesbian based on her choice to wear a suit instead of a dress at the convention and her support of civil unions. Perhaps most troubling was Shay’s successful effort to block a motion to hold the vote for chairman by secret ballot, opening the door to intimidation and reprisals against delegates who supported Hoff.
Shay’s victory by a margin of 470 to 415 votes is sure to prove divisive. At the convention there were already delegates who had been elected to office who were refusing to serve on a board headed by Shay, and scuffles on the floor during the election came close to breaking out into full-on fisticuffs. This struggle within the Young Republicans, where progressive reformers were stomped on by hardliners seems to mirror a struggle which is going on party-wide. Unfortunately, if the pattern shown here continues the GOP is likely to lose a lot of traction with younger voters and minorities which it desperately needs to increase its membership and broaden its appeal.
Shay’s election and her remarks certainly alienated black Republicans, including Lenny McAllister of HipHopRepublican, who commented:
“They just voted for a candidate who has a demonstrated tolerance for racial intolerance. She has joked about lynching and then claimed to be a victim. As a black man, I still don’t see what’s funny about that.”
In reference to comments Shay made about criticisms of her which she compared to a lynching. McAllister went on to write of the convention outcome:
“I do not advocate, support, or condone the failure of leadership recently exhibited. It is my ardent belief that the Party of Lincoln will return to its proud history of being avant garde regarding freedom, equality, and prosperity. I personally will not rest until the battle of conscience for what’s just within the Republican Party and throughout America has been won by the side of equality sans bigotry. I believe that there are plenty of Republicans and Americans throughout our nation that share this sentiment with me, one that strongly contrasts the one supported by Ms. Shay.”
McAllister’s concern about the direction that the party is going in is shared by many young Republicans who characterize themselves as “progressive” or “moderate” and whose beliefs are usually more centrist on issues like the environment and civil rights. Although they failed to prevail at the Young Republican convention, they still make up 47% of the constituency of that group, and with Audra Shay in charge there is a real danger of a split in the younger wing of the party or that many of them will just drift away from the party or even become Democrats.
On the other hand, this could present an opportunity for a powerful alliance between moderate, young Republicans and the Liberty Republicans of the Republican Liberty Caucus. Although their beliefs are not identical they do have many interests in common and the membership of the RLC skews very young demographically, possibly younger than the YRs are as a group.
The RLC has lots of college-aged members and young professionals and has a reform agenda whose goal is to return the GOP to its ideological and constitutional roots, an interest which moderate Republicans seem to share with their frequent allusions to the “Party of Lincoln.” The RLC believes in individual liberty, smaller government and personal responsibility, a simple and appealing platform which is not incompatible with support for many of the positions which moderates advocate.
As the Young Republicans descend into chaos and lose their relevance in a party which desperately needs reform, this would be a good time for Liberty Republicans to reach out to their disaffected members and show them that with common interests and an established nationwide organization the RLC can offer young Republicans the opportunity to put their energy to work making a better party which we can all be proud of. An alliance between moderates and Liberty Republicans could be a powerful force for change in the GOP.
Voters are increasingly turning away from the Republican Party, as voter registration and voter identity polls increasingly illustrate. And there seems to be few voices of reason on where the Republican Party should go from this point forward.
Voters under 30 voted 66% to 32% for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 – part of the biggest age disparity the exit polls have ever measured in a race for president. Young voters were the GOP’s worst age group in 2006 and 2004 as well.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “History suggests that an entire generation’s partisan profile can be shaped in the first decade of voting. Imagine a Democratic-leaning millennial generation (those born between the late 1970s and the year 2000) adding 4 million potential voters a year to the U.S. electorate over the next decade.”
Young voters are less socially conservative than the electorate as a whole on issues ranging from homosexuality to immigration. They are also more secular and participate less in organized religion. In a recent Pew poll, 25% of Americans born since 1976 were atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – compared with 13% of baby boomers.
“Young voters need to see a GOP that is more socially libertarian, particularly toward gay rights. With changing demographics come changing attitudes,” Republican consultant Mike Murphy wrote in Time magazine this month, lamenting in the same column that “A GOP ice age is on the way.”
The GOP also has to find a way to appeal to non-white voters. In 2008, voters under 30 were 62% white while voters over 30 were 77% white .
So how can the GOP simultaneously attract black, Hispanic and Asian voters, continue its appeal to white voters, and also capture young voters?
Voters are looking for consistency — a cohesive vision for peace and prosperity — and solutions to our problems.
The Republican Liberty Caucus offers the solution: less government, more liberty.
Government at every level in this country continues to be too big, too intrusive, and too expensive.
Solutions we seek — from our nation’s dwindling health care system and dilapidated schools to our meddlesome foreign policy and increasing civil liberties violations — can be found when government is reduced or eliminated from the issue.
As a RLC Adviser Ron Paul has repeated time and again, liberty is the great unifier. A vision of limited government unites all Americans in the great purpose of our nation’s government: to protect the rights of all American citizens and to be limited in scope and size.
Is there any vision more empowering than that?
Last week, Charlie Kochenash, a rising star in Indiana politics and Chair of the Indiana Republican Liberty Caucus, addressed attendees at a Tea Party organizing meeting in Northwest Indiana. In the above video, Charlie Kochenash explains the RLC principles, the trouble that the GOP has encountered, and introduces attendees to the World’s Smallest Political Quiz.
Mr. Kochenash cites page 28 of the Republican Party platform from 2008, which says: “We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in markets exasperates problems in the marketplace and causes the free-market to take longer to correct itself. We believe in the free-market as the best tool to sustain property and opportunity for all.”
Since chartering its affiliate in September of 2008, the RLC in Indiana has also chartered regional RLC organizations in Hamilton, Lake, LaPorte, Marion, and Porter counties. Learn more about the RLC at www.INRLC.org.